How to buy a PC

The size and shape of a PC is more important than it used to be.  A mini PC costs more and is less upgradeable, but takes up less desk space.

If you are interested in games, upgrade to a decent graphics card.  To be able to play next year’s games, it’s worth upgrading to a more powerful card such as a Radeon HD 4830. 

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All modern PCs come with dual core processors, and so are capable of taking on tough tasks.  Anyone who regularly undertakes tough tasks, like video editing and encoding, should seriously consider a quad-core processor, a more powerful processor.

There are plenty of reasons to upgrade the memory of hard disk.  If you’ll be using your PC for gaming, video editing or other demanding tasks then you’ll want both 4GB of RAM and a bigger hard disk.

A quality sound system will enhance all manner of PC activities.  To hear the surround soundtrack of a  DVD at its best, you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system.  Games can also use 5.1 systems.  If you want to listen to music or want better quality sound, you’ll need a dedicated sound card.

All PC’s now come with widescreen monitors.  As well as being ideal for watching movies, they feel more natural for working on spreadsheets and databases.  A 19in widescreen LCD is now considered basic.  Large 20in and 22in LCDs are available from around £130 and have a higher reolution.  Decide if you want a glossy display or not.  Glossy displays improve contrast and make images look brighter, but they reflect overhead lights and sunlight easily, which can be annoying.

The standard connectors can be improved with extra USB ports, to which most PC gadgets attach, and a Fire Wire port for gadgets such as digital video cameras.  Look for a memory card reader if you have a digital and make sure your camera’s memory card is supported.

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Windows Vista Home premiul is preinstalled on most new PCs.  Any extra software bundled should be assessed critically.  It may be that you’ll never use it.  You may find a PC that includes software you’d otherwise have paid for, so you’ll save lots of money by having it preloaded.

If you only undertake basic tasks then consider a nettop.  Nettops are low-cost, low-price PCs ideal for day-to-day computing tasks like web surfing and office applications.  They use similar components to netbooks and so are very popular and efficient. Somenetbooks have optical drives for burning and playing DVDs and CDs.  The more compact models do not have space for such drives.

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Free Business Cards

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How does VistaPrint design and print such high quality products at such a low price?

In one word—technology. Historically, graphic design and custom printing have been hands-on, laborious processes for both the supplier and the customer. Inflated supplier costs resulted in exorbitant prices for the customer, even for print jobs in very small quantities. VistaPrint’s patented, state-of-the-art technologies fully automate not only the manufacturing of printing, but also the manner in which orders are created and submitted. In a nutshell, we incur lower costs, which mean our customers enjoy lower prices for higher quality printing.

With more than 17 million customers worldwide, VistaPrint is the source for high-quality graphic design, Internet printing and premium service. We offer small businesses and consumers a convenient, high-quality solution for graphic design services and full-colour printing in small quantities, without the premium price.

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Avoid Overdraft Fees

Once your bank account has suffered a negative balance due to anything other than a system complication, financial institutions penalize account holders with a charge otherwise known as an overdraft fee. Though this fee varies, it is frustrating.  So, it is important to keep track of your money,  here are several ways to prevent overdraft fees from happening.

Steps to avoid overdraft fees

1.  Don’t rely on your “Available Balance.” Many financial institutions engage in a practice where they will reflect your “Available Balance” but can not recognize transactions that come in after the end of the business day, or checks. Available balance generally reflects the money you have in your account available to you, but a common trigger of overdraft fees occurs when the transaction is actually posting (moving from a “pending” status to “posted”). Banks generally place a hold on your money for 3 business days if it’s a credit purchase, and if the bank doesn’t receive receipt of payment by then, they will release the money back into the account. However, when a credit purchase is made, the merchant has much longer than that to collect payment. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see transactions being withdrawn days after they were made, therefore throwing off the expected available balance.

2. Arrange text alerts from your bank.

Some banks,  will send you a text message when you’re nearing your account limit so you can avoid unplanned overdrafts.  With Lloyds TSB, if your account goes overdrawn, you are given until 3:30 p.m. UK time to pay in the money or arrange a planned overdraft so you can avoid overdraft fees. You can also arrange texts alerts for when your account nears a low balance limit that you set.

 3. Arrange for overdraft protection from your bank.

This is an agreed borrowing limit you arrange with your bank, and it can help you manage cash flow better. It gets you out of a jam when, for example, you have an urgent bill but your pay cheque doesn’t go in the bank for a few more days. You have to arrange for this with your bank, and some banks allow you to do this online or over the phone.

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How to sell on Ebay

ebay logoEbay has been around for a long time now but many people have never sold anything on the site.  There are a lot more rules and regulations on the site than there used to be but it can still be a great way to clear out your unwanted clutter and raise some money.

Over the years we have sold all sorts of things from baby clothes and toys, books and dvds.  My most unexpectedly profitable item was an old knitting pattern from my gran that sold for £30.00.  I also use ebay to buy bits and pieces that can be hard to find, there always seems to be someone selling it on ebay!  If you want to have a look at what we are selling today her is our ebay page.   We are registered as a business and buy things to sell so you never know what you may find.  We mainly use Ebay now as a clearance outlet for our discount maternity wear store so you may find a bargain!

Before you start I would recommend having a good look around the site and read the rules and regulations

Where can I get photos?

You will need to take some clear photos of the items you want to sell, the better the image the more likely some one is to buy it.  You should take pictures of any damage or scratches on the item so buyers know exactly what they are buying.  Before listing try searching on the site for similar items to see what prices they are selling for, how they are described and if it is actually worthwhile listing.  Don’t be tempted to borrow others photos or descriptions as this will get your listings pulled.

mini gymHow much does it cost to sell?

Ebay makes its money from charging you a fee when you sell.  If you list an item starting at 99p on an auction there are no upfront fees so there is nothing to lose – only your time!  If your item is valuable you may want to start the auction higher and you will then pay fees to list.  You will be charged a Final Value Fee depending upon the selling value.  You will also be charged a fee by paypal for receiving the payment.  This is a link to the Ebay Fees.

What should I sell?

Popular items include baby goods, clothes, computer games and DVDs all of which we tend to have lying around.   Be careful with larger items as you will need to have packaging for sending so start small.

What about Postage Costs? 

Make sure you weigh your item as well and get a print out of the Royal Mail postage guide  from here so you charge enough for postage.  Make sure you package any breakable items well.  If it is a larger item you may find a good price for parcel delivery here at Parcel 2 Go.  If it is very heavy or delicate you may be better stating collection only however this will reduce the number of people who can buy.

Can I make real money on ebay?

If you get the ebay bug you may decide that you want to try and make some real money on ebay.  Well this can be done but it is not as easy as it looks.  Firstly you must register as a business with ebay and the tax man if you buy any items to sell.  You need to find a niche market, preferably something you are interested in as you will be dealing with lots of questions and need to make sure you buy the right things.  You need to check out the competition and see what price they are selling for.  The most important question is – Is there any money to be made?  You must cover your costs, ebay fees, paypal fees etc.   If you decide to give it a try good luck but don’t give up the day job straight away!!

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on-line shopping

Websites and Domain Names

I have had a bit of a saga with my main websites hosting, I will spare you all the gory details but I was left in the lurch by my previous hosting contact.  After much searching I found Carol Beck , a freelance web developer who has been superb.  She helped me sort out my web hosting and has  been great so if you are looking for some advice or support I recommend getting in touch.  She offers reasonable rates without tying you up in a complicated contract.

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